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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 October 22 - 29  > Nara Peace Committee holds study meeting on Japan-South Korea relationships
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2019 October 22 - 29 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Nara Peace Committee holds study meeting on Japan-South Korea relationships

October 27, 2019
The Nara Prefectural Peace Committee on October 23 in Nara City held a study meeting under the theme, “Past, present, and future of Japan-South Korea relationship”. Takahashi Makoto, who co-heads a Japanese civil group supporting Korean victims of wartime forced labor at Japanese factories, gave a lecture.

Takahashi, who also heads the Aichi Prefectural Peace Committee, pointed out that South Korea’s top court in October and November 2018 ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation to pay compensation to Koreans who were forced to work for the two manufacturers in Japan during WWII.

He noted that during the court battles, the companies argued that Koreans no longer have the right to claim war compensation from Japan because the two countries in 1965 made an agreement on the settlement of problems concerning property and claims. However, Takahashi went on to say, the top court rejected this argument and judged that the bilateral agreement does not affect individuals’ right to claim for damages. Takahashi said that the Abe government unjustly criticized the South Korean court rulings as being “invalid from the viewpoint of international law” and that such a comment on other country’s top court decisions is totally unjustifiable.

Takahashi stressed, “The national security is best ensured by mutual trust and friendship. The Japanese and South Korean governments should stop increasing tensions and instead promote dialogue to settle the ongoing dispute.”

Furthermore, Takahashi said that although the relationship between Tokyo and Seoul is souring, grass-roots exchanges still continue such as the Busan International Film Festival and a major Japanese museum’s special exhibition featuring cloisonné-ware by Korean artists. He also talked about his lecture given at a South Korean university in response to a request from South Korea to describe to South Korean youth how many Japanese citizens are conscious of Japan’s past acts of aggression and exploitation and want to make amends.

Past related articles:
> Korean top court orders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay damages to wartime forced laborers [November 30, 2018]
> Korean top court orders Japanese steelmaker to compensate ex-Korean forced laborers [October 31, 2018]
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